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Offbeat News

Trump wipes dandruff off visiting French President Macron

Washington - President Donald Trump on Tuesday made a show of flicking dandruff from the suit collar of visiting French President Emmanuel Macron, saying it was a sign of the two leaders' "very special relationship.

Brazil's leftists rename themselves 'Lula'

Bras - If Brazil's right-wing politicians thought they'd seen the last of Lula with his imprisonment, they couldn't have reckoned on running into more than 60 new "Lulas" popping up in Congress on Wednesday.

'Footquakes': Messi really does make the Earth tremble

Vienna - It's a scientific fact: when living football legends Neymar or Lionel Messi scores a goal, the Earth moves and the ground shakes.Don't believe it? Ask Jordi Diaz, a researcher at the Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera in Barcelona.

Brazil's Lula has TV in prison, but prefers to read: reports

Rio De Janeiro - Brazil's ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva could be watching television and sunbathing but so far prefers staying in his prison cell with a book, local media reports said Tuesday.

Rome's Jews reject Israel artichoke dictat

Rome - Rome's Jewish community is embroiled in a standoff with Israel's top religious authority after it declared the Eternal City's cherished dish of "carciofi alla giudia" (deep-fried whole artichoke) not kosher.

China sperm bank demands loyalty to Communist Party

Bejing - One of the largest sperm banks in Beijing has set loyalty to the Communist Party as a prerequisite for donors, in a sign that China's increasing emphasis on ideological training is being extended to the womb.

Croatia man's 'Way of the Cross' protest against military jets

Zagreb - A Croatian man walked 200 kilometres (130 miles) carrying a heavy wooden cross on his back to protest the country purchasing military jets when, he claimed, it did not have enough money for seriously ill children's medication.

Malaysian state wants Koranic recitals for cows

Kuala Lumpur - Cows in a conservative Malaysian state could be played Koranic recitals in the hope it will help them relax and improve the quality of their beef, a senior official said Thursday.

UK Masterchef judges spark rendang ding dong

Jakarta - Indonesians and Malaysians have their feathers in a flap over MasterChef UK's decision to eliminate a contestant from the popular cooking show because her chicken rendang wasn't crispy.

Netflix pokes fun in Brazil with 'corruption shops'

Bras - Brazilian travelers are finding something much more intriguing at airports than the booze and chocolates at duty free: "corruption shops.

New Zealand says it can't find Russian spies to expel

Wellington - New Zealand said Tuesday it would like to expel Russian spies in retaliation for allegedly poisoning an ex-agent in Britain -- only it can't find any Moscow operatives in the remote South Pacific nation.

Not rude, just French: fired waiter claims discrimination

Montr - A French waiter fired for being "aggressive, rude and disrespectful" says his behavior wasn't out of line -- he's simply, well, French.

Tyson the stray hippo captured in Mexico

Mexico - A stray hippopotamus that had been roaming around the countryside in Mexico has been captured after a 10-day hunt and relocated to a wildlife refuge, authorities said Tuesday.

Scimitar-wielding Turkey governor takes retirement

Istanbul - A Turkish regional governor who declared while wielding a double-bladed scimitar above his head that Turkey's forces would soon march into Mosul and Jerusalem has gone into retirement, reports said on Thursday.

Water shortage? Not at Brazil forum on water shortages

Bras - There's no escaping water rationing in Brazil's drought-hit capital Brasilia -- unless you're attending an international conference on global water supply problems, local media reported.

Cows throng Bondi Beach for Australia rural health cause

Sydney - Moos sounded across Sydney's Bondi Beach Saturday as drovers on horseback mustered dozens of cows across its famous soft sands to raise awareness about rural health needs.

Andorra witnesses first strike since 1933

Andorra La Vella - The tiny principality of Andorra is witnessing a once in a generation phenomenon -- a widespread strike.

Belgian royals greeted in Canada with German flag

Ottawa - A German flag accidentally flapped Monday at an official welcome in Canada for Belgium's king and queen.

'Wheelchairs curling, more cooler!' says Mr. T

Pyeongchang - Curling-mad Mr. T swung back into action Monday to support his favourite sport -- firing off a volley of tweets urging his followers to watch wheelchair curling at the Paralympics.Mr. T, who made his name playing big-hearted toughman B.A.

Italians queue for free cash promised by Five Star

Rome - Dozens of Italians have been queueing at tax offices to claim money promised by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement in the weekend election -- even though the party is not yet in power.

Alone at health clinic, Australian treats self for heart attack

Miami - Alone at a health clinic in a small, remote seaside settlement in Australia, a 44-year-old nurse sensed he was having a heart attack and sprang into action, saving his own life, a report said Wednesday.

Oldest message in a bottle found at remote Australian beach

Sydney - A message in a bottle written 132 years ago and found on an Australian beach by a group of walkers including the parents of Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo has been verified as the world's oldest known missive of its kind.

Paris metro fines pregnant woman for walking wrong way

Paris - A pregnant passenger on the Paris metro has been hit with a 60-euro fine for walking the wrong way, sparking outrage on social media.

Tajik leader to feature on university entrance exams

Dushanbe - Tajikistan's leader has become the inspiration for at least two essays to be included in university entrance examinations in a move apparently aimed at boosting his personality cult.

Austrians keep right to give far-right the finger

Vienna - A court has upheld the right of Austrians to give the leader of the country's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) the finger, officials confirmed on Thursday.

Run on bread in Ireland as snow-packed storm Emma looms

Dublin - Anxious residents in Ireland were hoarding bread Tuesday ahead of the arrival of a storm expected to cause the heaviest snowfall in decades.

Vampire bat's blood-only diet 'a big evolutionary win'

Paris - At first glance, the cost-benefit ratio of a blood-only diet suggests that vampire bats -- the only mammals to feed exclusively on the viscous, ruby-red elixir -- flew down an evolutionary blind alley.

UK church spires used to boost phone, wi-fi signal

London - Church spires across Britain will be used to boost broadband, mobile phone and WiFi connectivity in rural areas, under a deal struck between the government and the Church of England, it was announced Sunday.

We need love (and babies): Serbia in birth-boosting drive

Belgrade - "Give birth, don't delay!" "Love and babies are what we need first!" Serbia has announced the winning slogans in a competition to help boost the birth rate in the Balkan country, where the population is decreasing by tens of thousands each year.

Kim Jong Un lookalike provokes North Koreans in Olympic melee

Pyeongchang - A Kim Jong Un lookalike who has been making mischief at the Pyeongchang Olympics danced in front of North Korea's female cheerleading team before being nabbed and hauled off by police on Wednesday.
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